LVII. Keats

February 17, 2012 — Tender in the night he flew to me, out of the blowing snow, just before Valentine’s Day. Come in, I said, I’ll give you warmth, and shelter from the storm.

This is my furry Valentine, the yellow tabby tomcat, with the spiffy striped knee socks and the swirly, marbled dark chocolate back, who adopted me.

I thought of naming him Valentino, my Valentine cat. I’ve called him that, called him Tino for short. He doesn’t seem to care for it. His attitude toward it is, “Whatever.” Anyway, it seems like a heavy moniker for such an intelligent, humorous, gregarious, well mannered gentleman.

I could name him Greg, I suppose. I’ve called him various names to see how he’d respond. Besides Cat, he responds best to Chicken. Ideally, I wanted a name from the humanities. Names I came up with are:

Teddy – for Teddy Roosevelt (adventurous, intelligent)
Matisse – for his beautiful colors and for his initial M on his forehead
Picasso – a little long; nor is he blue, rose or cubist
Pierre – from Tolstoy’s War and Peace
Henri – debonair French name; French artists’ name
Vronsky – the lover from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and those days I’m ready to throw myself under a train
Leo – for Leo Tolstoy, and lions, snow lions
Chekhov – great author
Oscar – for Oscar Wilde, but I already had a cat named Oscar, and my neighbors have a cat named Oscar; I’d call Oscar and all the neighborhood cats would come
Scotty – for F. Scott Fitzgerald, but I had a cat named Scotty
Updike – for John Updike
Scriabin – for Alexander Scriabin, one of my favorite composers
Sasha – for Alexander Scriabin
Misha – for Mikhail Baryshnikov
Diaghilev – for all the arts and humanities
Tchaikovsky – another favorite composer
Mozart – the obvious; too common, perhaps
Schubert – good – cats like trout and crooning lieder in the night
Orhan – for my favorite living author, Orhan Pamuk, author of the novel, Snow; but, then, Orhan Pamuk names many of his characters Orhan – it could get confusing
Hemingway – the obvious; too common, perhaps
Wolfe – for Thomas Wolfe – sounds like a dog
Steinbeck – possibly

You’re probably thinking, “Oh, she should name him [Obvious Clever Name].” Well, I haven’t come up with that one yet.

So, in the middle of the night, when he jumped onto my bed, I thought, “Keats.” (Or did he say “Keats” when he jumped up? Was it a waking dream?)

But, getting back to the M … Viewing it upside down it becomes a W – Wendell, for instance, or Winston. Looked at sideways, it becomes a ∑ (sigma) – ∑und (Sigmund).

And then, this middle of the night thing: Plus, I have given other family members names starting with K – my daughter Kellie and my dog Kolia. Sometimes when I was calling them, I’d get their names mixed up; I’d summon my daughter – “Kolia!” She didn’t like that; nor did Kolia appreciate being called Kellie. So now I will have three to confuse. My granddaughters, whose names both begin with S, will enjoy it, when I call the cat Kellie or Kellie, Keats. One will say, “Nana …,” flatly and roll her eyes, while the other will say, “Well, you know, she’s getting old.”

So, Keats it is. Sorry R and Kellie, I know you liked Valentino; but I think he would have preferred being called Chicken to Valentino.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee … Already with thee! tender is the night.  I am happy in his happiness.

Samantha Mozart
… with John Keats
& F. Scott Fitzgerald





7 Responses to LVII. Keats

  1. Bettielou Wagner says:

    I love the name Keats… I sit here with Elizabeth….as in Queen, at least that is her opinion.

    I too feel the loss of Anthony Shadid. He was honest and brave. I have his family in my prayers.

    Take care.

    • sammozart says:

      Cats do take these odd opinions, Bettielou. Keats likes his name — I think because it is a fusion of the words “Cat” and “eats”. I’m glad you, too, feel the loss of Anthony Shadid. Yes, he was honest and brave. Hopefully, the memoir he has written will be published soon. Now to see if my brave new cat is done napping.

  2. Kellie says:

    I like his name. Can’t wait to meet Keats.

    • sammozart says:

      He’ll love meeting you. He is very sociable. Whenever we have company, he comes into the room and joins us. When the company leaves, he leaves and takes a nap somewhere.

  3. Robert Price says:

    Dearest Writer,

    Thank you for this evocative and excellent ode to all who nurture my sanity. Reading the living and dead brings me peace, love and soul. I found great pleasure in LVII Keats and you have eased my sojourn on a gorgeously romantic February day.

    Seeker of truth,


    • sammozart says:

      Nice ode to my blog and to one John Keats and his Nightingale. Thank you, R., for your kind words.

  4. sammozart says:

    We owe a great debt to all writers, storytellers and journalists; they are our messengers, our road to the truth; here in the United States, our fourth estate. The untimely death of New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid is a great and sad loss to us all. He risked his life almost daily to bring us the truth. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends and to his coworkers.

    I have left a comment on today’s New York Times story about Mr. Shadid.